Science: The Last Beep

Sputnik last week beeped its last. The voice from space had been weakening for several days, and was sometimes interrupted. Finally it stopped altogether, and Russian, British and U.S. radio listeners reported that the satellite was circling silently around the earth. Its batteries lasted three weeks, just as the Russians predicted soon after Sputnik first took to space.

The orbit is now fairly well known, both to Russian and non-Russian scientists. According to the Smithsonian's Astrophysical Observatory at Cambridge, Mass., the satellite follows a slightly elliptical track that carries it up 480 miles...

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